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Throughout the ages people have sought to understand the world around them and toexplain it in a systematic way. A
is simply a group of elements which work together toachieve a purpose. Systems can be very large, such as the system of courts and laws we call our 'legal system', or very small, such as the system involved in cleaning your teeth. Systems canoccur in nature or be designed by people. The water cycle (described below) is an example of anatural system. Banking systems and computer systems are examples of systems designed by people.
Processing systems accomplish a task: they take one or more
and carry out a
to produce one or more
An input is something put into the system, a process is a series of'actions or changes carried out by the system, while an output is something taken from the system.All systems can be represented by the following input-process-output
diagram.The shaded area in the diagram represents the system. The letter 'I' stands for input and theletter '0' stands for output. The input into this system is an output from another system and theoutput from this system is an input into another system.To develop these ideas further we will consider three systems: coffee making the water cycle and the shop.
THE WATER CYCLE
Water circulates between the earth and the atmosphere; this is an example of a systemoccurring in nature. It is driven by. the heat of the sun which causes evaporation from bodies of water and transpiration from plants. The water vapour in the atmosphere forms clouds under certain conditions. When these clouds have more water vapour than they can hold, precipitationoccurs and the water is returned back to the earth as rain;' hail, dew or snow. This process of moving water from the earth into the atmosphere and back to the earth is called the water cycle.The inputs are the heat from the sun, and water from oceans, lakes, rivers and plants. The process consists of actions such as evaporation, transpiration and precipitation. The output is thecirculation of the water between the earth and its atmosphere.
A shop is a retail system designed by people; its purpose is to allow customers to purchasegoods or items. The inputs are the goods to be sold. The process consists of actions such as